Originated in Spain’s Andalusia region, where hot, dry summers are the norm, gazpacho, a thin soup of raw, gently pureed vegetables in a thin tomato broth and served icy cold, is a traditional European summer cooler.
Cold soup in New England — where clam chowder is not just a year-round tradition, but something of a culinary identity — might be hard to swallow. Sometimes brothy gazpacho turns out too light to be satisfying. Enter Harvest’s chilled fennel gazpacho, a creamy, comforting iteration that manages to ease the swelter and feel satiating at once.
“We’ve done quite a few gazpachos,” said Tyler Kinnett, Harvest’s executive chef. “We’ve done strawberry, and we did a beet one. This one, we pureed it down, and it is very refined. The avocados add thickness, and it gives a nice round texture on the palate.”
The recipe includes coconut puree and sour cream, and both ingredients enhance the creamy, satisfying quality without adding stodgy heaviness.
“Even in summer, you need some good fats,” Kinnett said.
Mint, dill, basil, and spinach add a subtle but dense herb array, and a touch of jalapeño lends a delicate spiciness. The soup is not only easy on the tongue and cooling to the system, it’s picture-perfect: a pale green backdrop is topped with frozen cherries, a touch of crème fraîche, and a light sprinkling of fern green fennel fronds.
“The fennel’s licorice flavor with the cherry, to me that is always a good flavor combination,” Kinnett said.
Kinnett doesn’t want to take all the credit for creating this summer dish, though.
“We developed this recipe together,” he said of his kitchen staff. “I like to get everyone involved in creating our dishes. It makes it more personal if they are involved in the process. The credit for developing this one really goes to Sous Chef Danley Daniel. He’s really proud of it and deserves to take the credit.”
Recipe: Harvest’s Fennel Gazpacho
2 bulbs fennel
1 small onion
2 sprigs mint
2 sprigs dill
2 sprigs basil
2 tablespoons Coco López, or creamed coconut
1 cup sour cream
3 cups spinach leaves
1/8 cup olive oil
4 cups cold vegetable stock or broth (unsalted)
Salt and pepper
Garnish: fresh red cherries, pitted and cut in half; crème fraîche, and fennel fronds
1. Sweat the chopped onion and fennel on medium heat in the olive oil, season with salt. Allow to cool.
2. Chop remaining vegetables to fit in a blender.
3. Lightly puree the vegetables, herbs, coconut cream, and sour cream with half of the vegetable stock. Whisk in more vegetable stock after blending until the consistency is smooth and medium thick.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Chill the soup and freeze the cherries.
6. When cold, pour the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraîche, three frozen cherries, and a light sprinkling of fennel fronds.
Harvest, 44 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-868-2255; harvestcambridge.com.